Spotlight: Jennifer Houle, ND, LMT, BCTMB
Please provide your full name, current location, and current job title.
Jennifer Houle, ND, LMT, BCTMB
- Ellijay, GA
- Co-Owner of Cohutta Healing Arts Institute, School of Massage
- Approved Provider and Owner of Professional CE Connection
- Owner & Massage Therapist – Natural Wellness Center of Ellijay
Provide one fun fact about you.
I have an amazing memory–nearly photographic–when I am interested in the topic. I would rather read textbooks and non-fiction over fiction.
What are your hobbies?
Painting–Usually acrylics but trying my hand at watercolors. Also love puzzles and to problem-solve.
How did you discover the massage therapy profession?
In 1996, I was in a car accident and injured my back. I was originally going to the chiropractor twice a day until I could get some relief. I ended up at a different chiropractor’s office after my injury flared up again, and he determined I needed to see their massage therapist. It was an amazing experience as after the session there was a change in my pain. I continued to get better with each session, and I was inspired to look into massage school. While attending massage school, I went to work at that very chiropractor’s office as a receptionist and learned the business side of health care.
How did you develop your passion into a career?
My passion for the massage therapy industry stems from my personal experience with pain and loss of function. Massage therapy was instrumental in reducing my pain and improving my function after a car accident.
I was inspired to attend massage school in Pinellas Park, FL at the Humanities Center, School of Massage. I have found myself drawn to therapeutic massage as a means to guide others on their personal healing path. Early on in my career, I worked at chiropractor’s offices, spas, and as a mobile massage therapist. However, upon moving to the North Georgia Mountains, I found myself opening up a Wellness Center of my own.
Inspired by working with my clients, I decided to further my education and completed my Naturopathic Doctorate and added my skills as a traditional style Naturopath to my practice. I was invited to teach the Massage Therapy Program at North Georgia Technical College and absolutely loved sharing my knowledge with the next generation of Massage Therapists. I soon decided to become an Approved Provider of Continuing Education and began writing and teaching my own material. I ultimately decided to open my own Massage Therapy School once I found the perfect business partner and have been enjoying that very much.
Today, my wellness center is home to 10 additional massage therapists, many of whom are also either yoga instructors or personal trainers. On the continuing education front, I have been able to grow my continuing education offerings and add instructors. And, as for the massage school, we have an amazing program with approximately a 98% first time pass rate on the MBLEx.
How has your massage career evolved?
My massage career started out as a sincere desire to make a positive impact on the lives of those who were hurting. I quickly discovered that I am only one person and can have only a limited impact. I returned to school to become a naturopath and again determined that as an individual, I could only do so much to contribute to the world. When I began to teach massage therapy, I discovered that I could improve the overall impact by guiding future massage therapists. My knowledge could be passed on to the existing massage therapists, too. Sharing my experience, knowledge, skill, and passion is my humble contribution to our profession. It is always a pleasure to see students grow in skill and confidence. I can envision that they will carry on with them on their journey the passion and professionalism I demonstrate with my clients and students.
Why did you elect to become NCBTMB Certified?
I became certified in 1999. At the time, it was required by the state of Florida for licensure. I elected to remain Certified because I felt it was important to differentiate myself and my dedication to the practice of massage therapy. I elected to transition to Board Certification for the same reason. Without massage therapists opting for Board Certification, there would be no funding for a professional board.
Why have you maintained your NCBTMB Certification all these years?
The NCBTMB offers recognition by other health care professions as well as by an educated pubic. It supports education, both on the entry-level and continuing education level. It works on public perception of our profession. We are all stronger in this profession as a group with the backing of our own professional board.
How has NCBTMB Certification elevated your career?
My NCBTMB Certification created client confidence in my knowledge and skills, especially when I moved to Georgia. At the time, there was no legislation for licensure. Anyone could offer massage services, even without training. My Certification indicated to clients as well as other health care professionals that I was qualified and serious about massage therapy as a form of health and wellness.
What would you say to a fellow massage therapist contemplating Board Certification?
Becoming Board Certified means that you are committed to the massage therapy profession; it lets clients and other health care professions know that you are qualified. Have a say in the future of our profession by becoming Board Certified.